Dunham’s $3.7M Payday and What It Means

Even when self-published works can climb to the top of best-sellers lists, we’re still in the era of the big book. Despite there being more manuscripts up for grabs than ever (at discount prices), publishers are still making big bets for certain titles.

Random House paid a reported $3.7 million for the U.S. and Canada rights to Lena Dunham’s upcoming book, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned. At, 26, Dunham is a relatively new member of the New York glitterati but already has several impressive credits to her name, including the feature film Tiny Furniture and the HBO series Girls, both of which she created and stars in.

How many copies of the confessional will RH have to sell to make a healthy profit? The math is complicated but the simple answer is “a lot.”

How many copies of On Dublin Street, the self-published hit, does Samantha Young have to sell to make a profit? Well, it’s not a completely fair comparison, but you get the idea.


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The rest of the day’s top news:

Zola Launch Delays (DBW)
Zola will not be launching its full functionality to the public on Oct. 10 as previously reported, DBW has learned. The site will launch with two exclusive books for sale this week and plans to be fully up and running by the end of the month.

Nook Bonanza (MarketWatch)
Pre-orders for the latest Nook devices are the highest Barnes & Noble has ever seen, CEO William Lynch told investors. The stock price soared. Related: Microsoft and Barnes & Noble Finalize Partnership.

Pottermore to Help Others Do What It Did (Pub Lunch)
Having created a platform wherein Amazon and other retailers sent readers to Pottermore to buy e-books, CEO Charlie Redmayne said the company would seek to do the same for other brands. In May, Redmayne said other publishers could do what Pottermore did, but that it would be very difficult.

Random House on Libraries (Library Journal)
In a Q&A with Library Journal, Random House vice president, director of library and academic marketing and sales Skip Dye defends the publisher’s recent move to raise the prices it charges libraries for e-books.

Library Platforms Branching Out (DBW)
Following OverDrive and 3M, Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 has added platforms to its offerings, including Nook, Kobo and Sony.

New Start-up to Help Publishers Go Direct to Consumers (PaidContent)
Ganxy offers publishers a way to engage directly with consumers and sell to them on a variety of online and social media platforms. Official announcement.

The Next Best Thing (Pub Lunch)
If you couldn’t make it to Frankfurt for the Publishers Launch conference yesterday, here’s a short re-cap from Publishers Lunch (the names are not a coincidence – Pub Lunch is a partner in Pub Launch).

Building an E-Book Business Abroad (PaidContent)
What will the transition to digital reading look like outside of the U.S.? E-book retailers are getting very aggressive about expanding overseas and focusing on different things. Barnes & Noble seems to be focused on adding content while Kobo is focused on retail partners.

Going Dutch (Pub Perspectives)
The Dutch e-book market is small, but its digital native publishers are thinking big. Their facility with English opens up worldwide sales potential.

HarperCollins + Penguin? (Guardian)
One analyst thinks that Pearson should offload Penguin and that NewsCorp should buy it and combine it with HarperCollins. Just one question: What should the new company be called?

If the Whole World Was Publishing (DBW)
Check out this interesting graphic that maps the world if borders were determined by publishing markets. The U.S. is the largest and three times as large as the next largest publishing market.

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